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The Situation Room

News/Business. Wolf Blitzer. Traditional reporting and online resources update international news. New.

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U.s. 18, Us 12, Benghazi 11, Victoza 11, Washington 10, Faa 8, United States 8, Syria 7, America 6, Vatican 6, Cnn 5, Massachusetts 5, Europe 4, Graham 4, Lindsey Graham 4, Obama 4, Germany 4, Nsa 4, Angela Merkel 3, D.c. 3,
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  CNN    The Situation Room    News/Business. Wolf Blitzer. Traditional reporting  
   and online resources update international news. New.  

    October 31, 2013
    2:00 - 3:30pm PDT  

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happy halloween, everyone. if any trick or treaters see this cop and perp out there, please do not call for backup. that will be me and my son trick or treating with my daughter and wife. i now turn you over to wolf blitzer. it's not our news aide dressed as wolf blitzer. he's the real wolf blitzer in a place called "the situation room." happening now, tech giants coming to the rescue of the obama care website as its ongoing failures take a toll on the president's poll numbers. also, why won't the white house let congress hear from some survivors of the deadly terror attack on the u.s. mission in benghazi? and a huge turnaround by the faa. a new rule will change the way almost all of us fly. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." they are some of the biggest names in tech. google, oracle, red hat. we just learned that dozens of their experts are taking part in
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what's being called a tech surge to try to fix the mountain of problems plaguing the obama care website. among the latest, a total crash that kept the site down for a full day and a half. now there are signs the obama care debacle is taking a serious toll on the president's approval numbers as well. cnn's athena jones begins our coverage this hour at the white house. what's the latest over there? >> reporter: hi, wolf. well, obama care is getting a lot of the attention but the white house is in damage control mode on several fronts, facing sagging poll numbers and a second term agenda that so far, is stalled. >> i want to especially thank all of you. >> reporter: the president today trying to turn the page on a bad few weeks for the white house. >> i'm here because i want your companies to know, i want companies around the world to know that i believe there is no better place in the world to do business than the united states of america. >> reporter: what he can't ignore, his approval rating,
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sinking to 42%, an all time low in the new nbc/"wall street journal" poll. more than half of americans saying obama care needs a major overhaul or should be totally eliminated. >> there will still be plenty of time for people to register. >> reporter: this even as the vice president issued an apology for the disastrous rollout of the healthcare.gov website. >> we assumed that it was up and ready to run. >> reporter: it wasn't. >> we apologize for that. >> reporter: in an interview with cnn's sister network, hln, biden also revealed that president obama had tried to log on. >> the president tried to get online and my daughter tried to get online. i did not, because it was clear that i wasn't getting online. but it really is inexcusable. >> reporter: it isn't just obama care that's plaguing the president. the 16-day government shutdown marred all washington politicians, even before that obama's handling of syria seemed bumbling and now he's under
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pressure over reports the government spies on allies. the president's second term priorities, chief among them overhauling the nation's immigration system, appear in jeopardy. >> he's got himself in a pickle here. it does not mean he can't get out of it but there is, to be talking about anything else now like we'll do immigration reform and this and that, i think it's pie in the sky. >> reporter: so can he recover? >> there's a question of competence going on now. what barack obama sold to the public was like jimmy carter, i don't tell a lie, i'm truthful. this obama care rollout, there seems to be a lot of question marks everywhere. there seems to be a lot of weasel words, mealy-mouthed activity going around this rollout now which belies a strong commander in chief. >> reporter: brinkley says fixing obama care, making sure the law works, has to be top priority and with today's announcement that some big tech companies are contributing experts to help fix healthcare.gov, it's pretty clear the administration knows that. wolf? >> the news is not good over at
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the white house. let's move on. the health care law says that members of congress and congressional staff have to go into these new obama care insurance exchanges but some lawmakers are planning to exploit a loophole in the law. our capitol hill reporter is working this part of the story, lisa desjardens. >> reporter: you probably remember in 2010 when congress froze the affordable care act, they decided that members of congress and their staff should personally feel the ups and downs of the obama care exchange. they wrote that into the law. fast forward to now, and members will still be required to go into those exchanges, our elected members of congress, but because of the way the law was written, vaguely, it's not as clear for staff. there's a very messy debate over that. really quickly, here's why. when the law was written, it said that members of congress and quote, congressional staff, would have to go into the exchanges, but just about a month ago, the office of personnel management came out with a ruling saying that
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congressional staff meant official office staff. how about that for bureaucratic language. what does that mean? that's up to each member of congress, the office of personnel management said. so then what we have now is members of congress, some of them like darrell issa, saying that he plans to exempt all of his staff, saying none of my staff is official staff. he says he doesn't want anyone to go into the exchanges and that's why there's others that are particularly questioning committee staff or leadership staff, do they count. so we're seeing a lot of divide and right now at this hour is when congressmen have to make that decision on who is exempt and who is not. >> i understand republicans may all dislike obama care but they're taking different approaches on this issue. >> reporter: yeah, it's fascinating. as i said, darrell issa, republican, house oversight chair, exempting all of his staff. tom coburn on the senate side exempting his committee staff. but on the other hand, speaker boehner, all of his leadership
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staff will go into the exchange. similarly, for democrats, senate leader harry reid, he says his leadership staff will stay in the federal health plan. they will be exempted essentially from the exchanges. but his number three, patty murray, senate budget chairman, all of her folks going into the exchange. so it's really a divide and the truth is, behind the scenes, some people are angry at others for how they're interpreting this. >> republicans blocked two high profile presidential nominees. there could be some other big ramifications. what's going on on this story? >> reporter: okay. we can handle that quickly. there could be ramifications but i'll tell you right now, there probably won't be. we saw those two nominees, one for housing agency and the other for the court of appeals for the district of columbia, both get blocked today. big nominees. and there was some unhappy democrats about that. mentioned a possible rule change about the filibuster, the so-called nuclear option. this comes up from time to time.
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our producer ted barrett talked to senate leadership staff and they say right now there is not the appetite to basically go to war over these nominations and cause that so-called nuclear standoff over the senate rules, which may be a good thing for getting things done but it also tells us that there's a lot of tension hanging in the air still over these nominees. >> lisa, thanks very much. coming up, i'll speak with the architect of both obama care and romney care. tweet us your questions using the hash tag sitroom. lawmakers want to hear from survivors of the benghazi terror attack. why won't the white house let them appear before congress? new battle lines are being drawn on this front.
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is obama care in any danger of actually collapsing? i will ask an expert who helped design it. tweet us your questions for the obama architect.
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ten months into his second term and it's proving to be a tough one for president obama, with the obama care website debacle, just the latest in a series of problems that are dragging the president down. let's talk about that and more with our chief political analyst, gloria borger, our cnn political commentator, ryan lizza, the washington correspondent for the new yorker magazine and our chief political correspondent, candy crowley, the anchor of "state of the union." gloria, look at these nbc news/"wall street journal" poll numbers that just came out. how is president obama doing as president, approval in early october 47% approved to the job he was doing. it's gone down five points to 42%. that's the lowest since he took office. >> what's also just as telling
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is that his favorability ratings are upside down, that more people disapprove of him than approve of him. i think that's, you know, just a problem for him as president. one of the things he had going for him in the campaign was his likability. i think that is fast evaporating. i don't think it's just because of obama care. i think it's because the government shutdown hurt everybody. i think it's because of nsa surveillance. i think it's because of syria and the problems related to that. i think when you put all of these things together, people are looking at the president and saying you know, you're not fixing the problems. >> i think one of the problems, too, has been something the republicans have pushed and pushed it subtly for once, and that is the whole idea that he didn't know anything about anything. republicans have put that, you know, you bring up benghazi, what did you know, when did you know it, you bring up did he understand what was going on with the website. well, no, he really didn't know it. so did he know we were spying on
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our closest friends, well, no, the president didn't know that. i think it gives people this uneasy sense. we're already in uneasy times economically. obama care just superimposes itself over that and people thinking something that we talk about at my kitchen table is changing here, and that's important. it's not some place far away. it's right here. then you add on top of that the sort of president that republicans say is not paying attention. >> if they fix obama care, the website, by the end of november works well, is he going to bounce back? >> i don't know if he'll bounce back. he has a lot of other things going on. nsa surveillance is an increasingly important issue to a lot of americans. i assume there's a lot of liberals who are frustrated with him and giving him low approval because congress' legislative agenda is stalled. it's hard to get below 45% in this country as a leader. it should be about 45% as a floor. you start getting into that territory, it starts to get pretty dangerous. on the other hand, he's not up
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for re-election again. >> he doesn't have to worry about that. >> but he has to worry about the midterm, democrats in the midterm and his own credibility and approval, getting his agenda through congress. >> he got an earful from democrats today or his chief of staff did, democrats in the senate about obama care because they're going to run away from him. they've got to get re-elected and they will run away from him. it just doesn't start -- >> because once you get past the process which really is how do we get on and apply for this, if it works, shows signs of working, if we hear more stories that it's working than that it's too expensive, that turns it around for him. maybe not to big booming things but i do think there's a large -- >> here's what the president and the democrats have going for them. the same "wall street journal"/nbc news poll, your view of the republican party, 22% have a positive view of the republican party, 53% a negative view. that's also pretty low. >> most of these polls, these numbers for the republican
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parties are all time historical lows since the polls have been asking the question. the republican party is absolutely in a ditch. they need to figure out a way to get out. a sign of how much of a ditch they're in is mike lee this week, who sort of led the debate, gave a speech trying to moderate his message. >> here's the interesting question, looking forward. who's the leader of the republican party? >> they're out of power. >> they don't like republicans. that's fine. but if there's a leader that somehow emerges from the conflict that is now the republican party, people might be open-minded and say oh, okay, that person is a different kind of republican, that person, you know, we're ever optimistic in this country but right now you have defeated congressional democrats who suffered from the shutdown versus a president of the united states who is not very popular and the public is looking at it and saying you know what, we don't like any of you. >> one dynamic to think about, you have a republican in new jersey running for re-election,
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running against republicans in washington, and you have a democrat in virginia looks like he's going to win and he's out there, terry mcauliffe, running around with bill clinton talking about the lack of leadership in washington. so you have people already running state-wide a year before the midterms who are running against their respective parties. >> if you want to run, do it as an outsider. >> let's turn to benghazi for a second. the terrorist attack on u.s. officials in benghazi, libya, more than a year ago but it's still very much in the news right now. lindsey graham, the republican senator, was here in "the situation room" the other day. he said he's going to put a hold on all presidential nominees until people who survived that attack in benghazi are allowed to appear before congress and tell us what happened. listen to what he said on "new day" today. >> is it really too much for me to want to talk to the people who were in benghazi independent of the administration? or should in the future the congress just be told to shut up and go away, trust us, we've
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looked at it? >> so i guess the question i'll start with gloria, why won't the administration allow these survivors -- >> that's the question. >> -- to appear, either in open door or closed door session before congress? >> i think that's the question lindsey graham is asking. i think it's a completely legitimate question. he's doing this because he feels it's the only leverage he has. he has no other leverage. here's a minority in the senate and look, i think it's a legitimate question. >> on the merits of this, it clean place.raham's got a pretty we should have more information, he should be allowed to have anyone he wants. i don't doubt for a second that graham truly believes that he needs to get to the bottom of this. on the politics of this, remember, graham is one of those republicans who stuck his neck out on immigration reform, he's got a primary challenger back in south carolina, and his numbers among conservatives in recent polls have been dropping precipitously. >> when he was here in "the situation room" this week, i asked him this question, maybe
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some of them already have appeared. listen to what he said to me earlier in the week. >> it's my understanding that the survivors, the state department personnel who survived the consulate attack, one of that group has been interviewed by the house. >> so one state department official who was there, but as you know, all of our viewers by now know, not all of the american officials who were in benghazi on that horrible day worked for the state department. some worked for other agencies of the u.s. government, very sensitive agencies of the u.s. government. that's one of the reasons why the administration says you know what, it's better that these people do not expose themselves -- >> meaning cia? >> obviously. >> that's why they have closed doors. that's why they have -- they do have people up there that have top security clearance that could be given, you know, that are trusted as much as anybody over at the cia or fbi or wherever it is. they could produce -- >> they argue that -- i'll run it by you, see what you think.
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the argumentati i've heard is te are some of the sensitive people who work for the cia or other intelligence agencies and if they start testifying either in open or closed door session, before congress, they have to retire. they, for all practical purposes, can no longer be clandestine officers of the united states. >> my understanding is awhile ago, the national counterterrorism center actually was the lead agency in putting together the definitive timeline for the administration on what happened in benghazi. they went in in closed session, the director of the nctc in the intelligence committee, took the whole intelligence committee through the timeline with video surveillance video and the whole thing and after that, there were folks on the intelligence committee, republicans, saying okay, benghazi is a little different than we were thinking and some of the heat turned down. i don't know if lindsey graham has asked to see that presentation, but other republicans who have seen it, my understanding is they're not out there -- >> like mike rogers, chairman of the house intelligence committee, has been briefed on
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all of this. i don't see him calling for all these individuals to come and testify. >> because he's seen this briefing. i don't know if graham has or not. >> part of this is obviously politics. it has to do with hillary clinton in 2016 and we know all of that. but it's an open secret that benghazi was effectively a cia outpost. we have been talking about that. so we all know that. and there are ways as candy was saying to de-brief privately, to get lindsey graham to have the same kind of hearings that perhaps mike rogers has had and if they haven't done that, maybe that's a compromise that can be reached. >> i just want to go back to the point graham is in a tough -- not tough, but he's in a primary. [ speaking simultaneously ] >> let's remember that's part of it. >> so much of what you're hearing now is hard to extrapolate what part of it is politics and what part is policy, because we are in an election season. this is clearly, benghazi is clearly going to come up. the republicans do want to push
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that which doesn't mean as you pointed out that he isn't serious about finding out what happened. >> we'll see what happens. i suspect they will work something out fairly soon. we'll see. >> it will also reengage the debate over the nuclear option. democrats will not just sit down and let the senate be held up. >> nuclear option has nothing to deal with -- it's a bureaucratic thing in the senate. guys, thanks very much. up next, the disappointment of shopping for obama care insurance. some are finding few choices or none at all. i will talk to one of the experts who helped create obama care and romney care. man: sometimes it's like we're still in college. but with a mortgage. and the furniture's a lot nicer. and suddenly, the most important person in my life is someone i haven't even met yet. who matters most to you says the most about you.
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some people shopping for obama care coverage are not only frustrated by the website problems, they're also disappointed at the lack of insurance choices. cnn's tom foreman has been looking into this part of the story for us. what's going on here, tom? >> you know, a cornerstone of obama care is the idea that millions of uninsured people would flood into the market buying coverage and many insurance companies would compete for their business. in theory that gives the customers more choices and the
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competition drives down prices. but cnn has been collecting data from all 50 states and so far, that broad array of choices is occurring only in some places. we have broken it down. the federal exchange rates, state exchange rates, joint exchange. what we're seeing out there, for example, if you live out in california, there are 12 companies competing for your business. in texas, 11 companies. in new york, 16 companies. these are just a few samples here. what do all these places have in common? they have big cities and the trend makes sense. if you're a company looking to match new customers with services that is easier done in places with a lot of people, a lot of doctors and a lot of hospitals. but move out into the states that have few or no large cities, and look at the difference. in alabama, alaska, hawaii, maine, mississippi, north carolina, vermont and wyoming, people have only two companies to choose from, and in west
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virginia, and new hampshire, there is no choice. only one company offering insurance through obama care. if you add them up, these states alone, not the big ones but all the little ones out here, contain 32 million people who are not currently realizing the promise of obama care in terms of choice and competition. wolf? >> a lot of the supporters of obama care point out, tom, that many republican-led states have resisted the program from the start. could that also be at least partially to blame for this disparity? >> maybe some of it, because if you look at the breakdown from the last presidential election, if we go a little further on here, you can see that a lot of this seems to stack up in red states versus blue states. blue states being more democratic, red states voted for the republican nominee last time around. but the primary driver still appears to be the demographics of all of this. here's what i want to point out. in many of the blue states, people outside of major metropolitan areas are facing
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similar limited choices. you may have 16 choices in the city but you may only have three once you get 100 miles outside the city. that sort of thing. what's more, we have found that also even in blue states, the further you get away from cities, the less you see that competition and sometimes you see the same company charging hundreds of dollars less for the same policy in the city, hundreds more for people out in the smaller towns or countryside. >> interesting stuff. tom, thanks very much. let's dig a little deeper right now with jonathan gruber, an economics professor at the massachusetts institute of technology, m.i.t. he helped design both obama care and romney care. jonathan, thanks very much for coming in. >> good to be here, wolf. >> what do you make of what we just heard from tom, at the time three, four years ago when you were coming up with obama care, with all these ideas, did you realize that in some of these states, there would be only one or two insurance companies competing for the folks' business? >> yeah, i think there's two
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issues we have to keep in mind. the first issue is to remember that we're comparing the world after obama care to the world before. it's not like obama care's chasing insurers out. these are just markets that didn't have many insurers to choose from before and there hasn't been a lot of entry in recent times since the law has passed. but the second thing to keep in mind is the law is brand new. in massachusetts, after a law had been in place for two years, we had a major new entrant that really shook up the insurance market. you don't need a whole lot of new entrants to shake up a market. you don't need 16 choices. you don't need 12 choices. it's nice to have that many but having one or two new entrants which will happen over time, it did in massachusetts, can really shake up the market with lower prices. >> you spent a lot of time on health care and working on obama care. is there any real danger that obama care is actually in trouble of eventually collapsing? >> no, not really. what we're seeing now is website difficulties, that is unfortunate, but remember, the main thing you need the website for really is to shop.
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that's in some sense the easier part. that part, they will have working by the end of november. enrollment can happen over the web or over the phone or in paper, and that can happen as soon as the website's working and people can shop effectively. remember the other thing, wolf, the key deadline here is march 31st. that's when people have to have insurance to avoid the individual mandate. that's still months away. in massachusetts, the first month people could sign up to pay for coverage, 123 people signed up in total. by the end of the year, it was 36,000. so we have to allow for ramp-up and it will work. >> but there's an earlier deadline which is december 15th. if you haven't purchased the new policy by then, you're not going to be covered, assuming you've lost your coverage right now, starting on january 1st, and what happens if that website isn't really operating fully by the end of november? >> i think as i said, if the website isn't operating fully for shopping by the end of november that's a problem. people who have to change
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policies, many times they're being asked to change to similar policies, different name or slightly different deductible but they do need to find them. minority of people seeing that- cancellations, it would be a problem if the website wasn't up and running by the end of november. >> you suggested, correct me if i'm wrong, that about nine million people in the united states will eventually have to pay more for health insurance policies as a result of obama care. is that right? >> it's a rough number but i think we're talking 2% to 3% of the population, so around i would say the number's more around six million people but it's a rough estimate. i think the main thing is what's hard to say is what paying more means because a lot of the time, people pay more in premiums but will be getting much better insurance for it. >> some people are going to be paying significantly more, right? >> yes. some people will. if you're young and healthy and not poor, then essentially you are benefiting from an existing discriminatory insurance market.
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a market that excluded the sick and unhealthy. we bring in the sick and unhealthy, then those who are young and healthy and benefiting from that discrimination will have to pay more to participate in the market. that's part of the social contract that we're part of to make the insurance work in america. >> as someone who helped build obama care, how surprised have you been by this failure of the website? >> you know, i don't really pay attention to these things. i think it's disappointing. i think anybody who tells you otherwise is lying. the president said so yesterday. it's disappointing. i guess i'm more frustrated by people's overreaction to it. when we set up our website in massachusetts, we had monthly reports on enrollment. even that was maybe too frequent. this is something with success not to be measured in days or weeks but months and years. according to the congressional budget office it will be about a three-year rampup period before it's fully effective at its full level of functioning. that's what we saw in massachusetts as well. we need to calm down and stop worrying about days and weeks and focus on months and years. >> remember, you know these numbers a lot better than i do, there are, what, 48 million, 49
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million people in the united states who don't have health insurance, and the president and cbo estimated that in the first year, if obama care works fine, about nine million of those 48, 49 million people will have health insurance, is that right? >> that's about right. that's about right. >> so there is still 40 million people who are not going to have health insurance, and we thought -- >> yeah. >> i was under the impression, a lot of people were, that if would have an ability to have health insurance. >> so wolf, there's two things. there's ability to have it and having it. first of all, what cbo estimates is when the law is fully phased in, at the current level of medicaid expansions, about half the people, about half of the uninsured will get insurance. now, if the governors of these states that are turning down the medicaid dollars would stop committing the political malpractice they're currently committing and actually accept the federal dollars to pay for insurance for their poor citizens, that number will go up substantially, it will go up to closer to 60% of the uninsured.
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but it's true, even when this is fully phased in, about 40% of the uninsured americans will remain uninsured. a lot of that is because they are undocumented immigrants not helped by this law. >> maybe 10 or 12 million, is that what you're saying? >> what i'm saying is at the end of the day, of the remaining uninsured, probably a third to a half will be undocumented immigrants. others will be people who have decided to pay the penalty instead. and others will be people who just are exempted from the penalty because they can't afford insurance. >> the illegal immigrants, they are not going to be eligible to purchase health insurance under obama care, so they're the ones who will wind up presumably in the emergency rooms, right? >> just like they do today. i think once again, the key thing is we can't evaluate obama care against the world we wish we had. we have to evaluate obama care against the world we have today. today, these undocumented immigrants end up in the emergency room. next year, they lend up in the emergency room again. that may be something we want to take eventually as a society but
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we don't seem prepared to do so now. >> maybe if there's comprehensive immigration reform, that can be fixed. thanks very much, jonathan gruber, economics professor at m.i.t. useful information. we appreciate it. >> my pleasure. take a look at this. we have live pictures from the white house right now. the president and first lady, they're welcoming local kids, military families, for trick or treating going on for halloween. those are live pictures. sort of scary over there. very nice gesture on the part of the first family. up next, it's not just the website. we went to an obama care store and found serious problems there as well. a huge change in store for air passengers. we have details of the new rule about your electronics.
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one state is trying to cut through all the obama care confusion. in connecticut, people are looking for coverage they can shop for the old-fashioned way. they can actually go inside a store. cnn business correspondent zain asher visited the state's first obama care retail outlet. unfortunately, like the website, things aren't always running smoothly. >> reporter: take a trip down main street in new britain, connecticut and right next to edible arrangements you'll pass a storefront that has the locals intrigued. >> we have a lot of different questions from individuals because it's new. >> reporter: a retail store set up by connecticut state exchange dedicated solely to all things obama care. >> it's complicated. so we want to make sure that people know what the new law really says and how it affects
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them. >> reporter: think of it as the first brick and mortar version of the state exchange. management said they wanted to be creative so they used the apple store as their inspiration. >> it's clean, open and bright. as you can see, it's very open for a customer to walk in and just kind of feel welcome. >> reporter: past the greeting area, there's a screening area for informational videos on insurance, a play area for uninsured customers with toddlers and cubicles for insurance brokers. >> it just feels great, that somebody has your back, somebody is there to help you. >> reporter: management also say that by having a physical store, they eliminate some of the confusion about what the exchanges actually are. >> we've got a lot of questions from individuals confusing this with the stock exchange or people thinking that it was physically a place where they had to come and bring their insurance cards into to physically exchange them for something else. >> reporter: but the in-store experience is running into problems.
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one customer says she's already had to come in three times to try and enroll for health insurance. every time she moves further along in her online application, problems connecting to the federal data hub force her to come back and start over. >> it's frustrating. you put your trust in the government and sometimes it doesn't come out the way it's supposed to. >> reporter: connecticut is going full speed ahead. the state already has plans to open a second retail store in new haven in the coming week. >> we wanted to find a way to really make a firm commitment to physically being in the communities where many uninsured individuals reside. we wanted to literally be part of the community. so the concept of a retail store was really born out of that thinking. >> reporter: zain asher, cnn, new britain, connecticut. vice president joe biden is confirming what the white house won't. the president himself has tried to access the obama care website and has seen its failures firsthand.
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biden became the highest administration official to formally apologize. listen to what he told hln's christi paul. >> reporter: what did you know prior to the website being launched? >> we were under the impression that it was ready to go. we had the president, to his credit, almost seven weeks out was saying are we ready, and to be told by the pros yeah, this looks like it's all ready to go online, and neither he and i are technology geeks, and we assumed that it was up and ready to run. but the good news is although it's not, and we apologize for that, we're confident that by the end of november, it will be and there will still be plenty of time for people to register and get online. >> reporter: have you tried to get online? >> no. actually, the president tried to get online and my daughter tried to get online. i did not, because it was clear that i wasn't getting online. but it really is inexcusable.
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there's no -- there's no excuse. they just have to fix it. so we pulled out all the stops and brought in the best people in the country and we're assured that we can be done by the end of november. >> reporter: november. do you know why it will still take another month? >> well, look, all i know is they talk about 50,000 lines of this and this. i don't know the technical reasons. but they say the platform, the way they explained to me, the platform is fine, but they have to change an awful lot of the input. so i don't know. i wish i could tell you. that's why i became a lawyer. >> the vice president speaking with christi paul. when we come back, a major announcement from the faa that could change how you use portable electronic devices on your next flight. plus, could a new report help chris brown's defense against an alleged assault on a man right here in washington, d.c.? we'll have details.
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major announcement from the faa about rules for portable electronic devices. find out what it means for you.
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. this is welcome news for air travelers who, for the first time, will soon be able to use most portable electronics devices throughout their entire flight cnn's chris lawrence is joining us from reagan national airport outside washington, d.c., with this much anticipated announcement from the faa. what are they telling us? >> reporter: you know, wolf, if you've ever been in the middle of a great novel on your kindle and told to shut it down while the guy next to you continues to thumb thus his 600-page hardcover, this is a game changer. basically from now on, once each
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airline sort of verifies with the faa their planes are okay and they're not going to get any interference, you will be able to play games on your iphone. you'll be able to read your novel on your kindle, you'd be able to go through business files reports, watch a movie on ipad, all during taxi, takeoff and landing. you won't have to hear any announcements. there are a few things you won't be able to do. you won't be able to access e-mail, send e-mails, text messages, you won't still be able to talk on the cell phone. this is after about a year of studying this problem. they now found it looks like it's going to be safe. some airlines have already filed the paperwork with the faa to say, look, we're ready to go with this. when you look at how many airlines already have their wifi capability, you can see why the faa -- you may be seeing some of these changes by the time you
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start your holiday travel in another month or two. >> chris lawrence, thank you. here's a look at other stories we're monitors right now. a federal appeals court has ruled that the new york police department can resume its controversial stop-and-frisk policy, as other appeals in the case are heard. back in august, a judge ordered the policy be altered, finding it in part unconstitutional by unlawfully targeting blacks and latinos. city officials bristled at the claims that police racially profiled suspects, appealed the ruling, saying the policy has cut crime. a lawyer for edward snowden says he now has a job in the country where he's seeking asylum. beginning tomorrow, snowden will work for a major russian website where he will be performing maintenance. for security reasons, his attorney isn't naming the employer. snowden is charged with espionage and theft of government property. a secret service report detailing chris brown's alleged
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assault assault of a man here in washington, d.c. is shedding new light on the possibility defense strategy. the document obtained by cnn suggests that brown's bodyguard could take the rap for the broken nose, while lawyers could question the credibility of one of the police officers investigating the case. brown is currently serving felony probation for his 2009 domestic violence conviction involving the pop star rihanna. a big day here in washington for the new new jersey senator, the former mayor cory booker was sworn in by the vice president joe biden. later met privately with president obama over at the white house. there was a special election this month to serve out the term of the late democratic senator frank lautenberg. the new nameplate is also up outside his senate office door. congratulations to the new senator, cory booker. coming up at the top of the hour, new questions about u.s. eavesdropping.
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did it extend all the way to the vatican? the nsa says absolutely not. still america has lost some trust in europe. stand by. new information. also, what makes this baby turned internet sensation well up in tears? jeanne moos has the very touching moment. [ male announcer ] this store knows how to handle a saturday crowd. ♪ [ male announcer ] the parking lot helps by letting us know who's coming. the carts keep everyone on the right track. the power tools introduce themselves. all the bits and bulbs keep themselves stocked. and the doors even handle the checkout so we can work on that thing that's stuck in the thing. [ female announcer ] today, cisco is connecting the internet of everything. so everyone goes home happy.
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like an adult. >> reporter: all babies cry. but this baby's brimming eyes may make you want to cry ♪ don't you know it's ♪ >> reporter: she's not being tortured. he mom is singing. >> i can sing any other song and she doesn't have a strong reaction. >> reporter: she was listening to the radio when sara evans came on, singing a rod stewart song. ♪ it's when you say it's over ♪ >> reporter: so amanda san along to her baby. ♪ you don't how strong my weakness is ♪ ♪ how much it hurts me ♪ because when you say it's over with her ♪ ♪ i want to believe it's true >> i thought it strange.
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i thought at the first time it was a fluke. >> reporter: but it happened every time she san "my heart can't tell you no." amanda's husband was skeptical, so she made this recording. >> i was like, oh, my lord. ♪ so i let you hearing ♪ no way to know ♪ i'm going to wake up missing you ♪ ♪ >> reporter: what struck amanda is how she seems to be struggling not to cry, to hold it in. what do you think is going through her mind? >> she's an older soul. >> reporter: her father believes in reincarnation, and her mom thinks her baby just has the connection with the emotion behind the song. childhood development specialist agreed. ♪ wake up missing you ♪ >> reporter: telling cnn the baby might be responding to the melancholy tonality. >> you feel the pain in the strong, don't you? >> sara evans tweeted out how
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cute the video is, hopefully she's crying tears of joy, but here's a bit of a downer. because of the hoopla and interviews and video being played over and over, the baby has stopped tearing up when she hears the song. >> i think she's become immune to it. >> reporter: we sure aren't immune to you. ♪ i'm going to wake up missing you ♪ ♪ wake up missing you >> reporter: finally a silent cry baby. jeanne moos, cnn. >> it's okay. it's just a song. >> reporter: new york. happening now, president obama's scary october, on this halloween, the white house is reeling from a series of political night mares. plus americans potential could pay a huge price for obama care and the failures. we're talking billions of dollars. was the u.s. spying on the
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vatican while cardinals were choosing the new pope? the nsa says no. a key u.s. ally tells me it's possible. i'm wolf blitzer, you're in "the situation room." this image says a lot about the state of the obama white house right now. the cover of bloomberg business week suggesting that the administration has crashed much like the website. today alone the president's approval rating has fallen to an all-time low of 42% in a brand-new poll republicans blocked meanwhile, the confirmation of two of the high-profile nominees and subpoenaed the health secretary for more information about the website fiasco. we have a team of coverage coming up this hour. the president's enormous challenges right now not only in the united states, but around the world. first to our chief congressional correspondent dana bash. >> reporter: wolf, the white house isn't just in damage control over a bad health care
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website. they're also trying to calm concerns from americans all over the country who are being dropped from their current health plans. republicans here on capitol hill are saying, we told you so. >> the gentleman from ohio, mr. boehner. >> reporter: march 2010, then minority leader john boehner came to the house floor as democrats were poised to pass obama care. he issued this warning. >> look at this bill. ask yourself, do you really believe that if you like the health plan that you have, that you can keep it? no, you can't. >> reporter: it's just one example of a republican effort before the health care bill became law of the land, to push back on this presidential sales pitch. >> if you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. period. no one will take it away. no matter what. >> reporter: that was the summer
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of 2009, during the heat of 9 health care legislative battle. so was this weekly gop address. >> on the stump, the president regularly tells americans, if you like your plan, you can keep your plan, but if you real your bill, that just isn't so. for starters, within five years, every health care plan will have to meet a new health care definition for coverage, one your current plan might not match, even if you like it. >> reporter: fast-forward three years, that's exactly what's happening. insurance companies are dropping americans all across the country from their health plans, many because policies don't have coverage, now required under obama care. democrats are trying to calm concerned constituents, call it a good thing. >> if we don't enforce this policy, insurance companies can continue offering flimsy coverage that disappears when people actually need it. no one should want that. >> the hhs secretary struggled to explain. some current plans are for
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longer available, because they're bad for consumers and no longer legal. >> many women are charged 50% more than men. that will be illegal. >> reporter: the problem, that's not what people expected when they heard this over and over. >> if you like your plan, you can keep your plan. >> reporter: while republicans are eager so tail i told you so, privately democrats are increasably frustrated and regretful they left americans with expectations that didn't pan out. steny hoyer said this week that they should have been, quote, more precise in explaining that not everyone will be able to keep their current plans, especially if they don't meet new minimum mandatory standards. >> dana bash on capitol hill, thank you. let's get to the cost of obama care, the companies that goes bell well-yond the web side. paying bills onfor the stays to set up health care exchange. tom foreman hag tallies the
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costs. what are we see? >> reporter: secretary sebelius puts the price tag at about $174 million so far, others put it closer to $300 million, but now numbers on how much it cost to set up the state exchanges, too, and the price is actually very hefty when you start looking at that. to start with, every state out there, except for florida and alaska, received a state planning grant, even if they did not plan to purchase in obama care, just to study how it fits into and affects state government it is. the bottom line, more than 53 million sent to and spent by the states. next, many of states that were considering full parts paition in obama care needed even more money. committees, research and so forth beyond that initial level. that was really costly. now we're talking about the first step coming up to $1
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billion,767,000, a little more than that. bottom line for level 1 establishments, more than 1.25 billion. bottom line for the level 2 establishment grants? well over $2 billion. this is how much of your tax money has gone to helping the states get ready for obama care. >> the white house has pointed out that some of those state exchanges, they are working quite well, suggesting the money was well spent. >> they have said that, and that may be a fair claim. other places are not helping much with their arguments. for example, if you look at
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colorado, colorado has received almost 179 million to help deal with 716 uninsured residents here. so far just over 3,000 have enrolled. this is early in the process. much of this will change as it moves forward, but again, they make it look very costly. >> tom foreman, thank you. still ahead, is the vatican vulnerable to u.s. spying? we're looking into a bombshell report in italy a key american ally tells me, though, anything is possible. plus an update on the breaking news. the story we're following, a school bus that went off a bridge in kansas. across america people are taking charge of their type 2 diabetes with non-insulin victoza®. for a while, i took a pill to lower my blood sugar, but it didn't get me to my goal. so i asked my doctor about victoza®. he said victoza® is different than pills.
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victoza® is proven to lower blood sugar and a1c. it's taken once-a-day, any time, and comes in a pen. and the needle is thin. victoza® is not for weight loss, but it may help you lose some weight. victoza® is an injectable prescription medicine that may improve blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes when used with diet and exercise. it is not recommended as the first medication to treat diabetes and should not be used in people with type 1 diabetes or diabetic ketoacidosis. victoza® has not been studied with mealtime insulin. victoza® is not insulin. do not take victoza® if you have a personal or family history of medullary thyroid cancer, multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2, or if you are allergic to victoza® or any of its ingredients. symptoms of a serious allergic reaction may include: swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat, fainting or dizziness, very rapid heartbeat, problems breathing or swallowing, severe rash or itching. tell your doctor if you get a lump
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or swelling in your neck. serious side effects may happen in people who take victoza®, including inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), which may be fatal. stop taking victoza® and call your doctor right away if you have signs of pancreatitis, such as severe pain that will not go away in your abdomen or from your abdomen to your back, with or without vomiting. tell your doctor about all the medicines you take and if you have any medical conditions. taking victoza® with a sulfonylurea or insulin may cause low blood sugar. the most common side effects are nausea, diarrhea, and headache. some side effects can lead to dehydration, which may cause kidney problems. if your pill isn't giving you the control you need ask your doctor about non-insulin victoza®. it's covered by most health plans. in the midst of the obama care controversy, more user-friendly, for decades,
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participants had to use all the money in their fsa accounts by the end of the year or lose it. now they'll be able to carry over up to $500 of unused money into the next year. more news right after this. so there i was again, explaining my moderate to severe chronic plaque psoriasis to another new stylist. it was a total embarrassment. and not the kind of attention i wanted. so i had a serious talk with my dermatologist about my treatment options. this time, she prescribed humira-adalimumab. humira helps to clear the surface of my skin by actually working inside my body. in clinical trials, most adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis saw 75% skin clearance. and the majority of people were clear or almost clear in just 4 months.
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humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal events, such as infections, lymphoma, or other types of cancer have happened. blood, liver and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure have occurred. before starting humira, your doctor should test you for tb. ask your doctor if you live in or have been to a region where certain fungal infections are common. tell your doctor if you have had tb, hepatitis b, are prone to infections, or have symptoms such as fever, fatigue, cough, or sores. you should not start humira if you have any kind of infection. make the most of every moment. ask your dermatologist about humira, today. clearer skin is possible. britta olsen is my patient. i spend long hours with her checking her heart rate, administering her medication, and just making her comfortable. one night britta told me about a tradition in denmark, "when a person dies," she said, "someone must open the window so the soul can depart."
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i smiled and squeezed her hand. "not tonight, britta. not tonight." [ female announcer ] to nurses everywhere, thank you, from johnson & johnson. better national watch dog group says syria has destroyed all of the chemical weapons facilities meeting its first deadline. let's bring in jim scuitto. apparently they met the first deadline, but there are still significant problems out there? >> reporter: when you think where we were a little more than a month ago, we've still come a lot way. we have a new report tonight on fp.com, that syria has asked to
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keep some of the factories to turn into civilian chemical factories. i spoke to a u.s. official who told me, quote, there's a real concern they might be trying to reserve some of their chemical weapons capabilities. separate from the factories, syria still has one of the largest stockpiles in the world. as long as they have the stockpiles in theory they could still use them. the following damning assessment -- quote, it has little to no impact on their immediate capabilities. there are other problems. russia still shipping arms to syria, even as it takes part in this deal. it's something that u.s. ambassador spoke about during hearings on the hill today. i want can say that it's substantial. it has increased. there are more deliveries. some some cases 1/3 militarily
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extremely significant. >> reporter: one things they were ship recently is refurbished war planes. >> amid all this, secretary of state john kerr are is working aggressively to come up with a real solution. >> reporter: he wants to push the 2 talks. is the trouble is several of the key players don't want to take part, and is the main political opposition group says it won't decide until november 9th whether it will take part. it's also not clear whether iran and saudi arabia will participate at the same time give strong criticism of the stumbling support for the opposition. ambassador ford also took real heat on this today. listen to at real exchange. >> there isn't a person on my team at the state department, who doesn't feel frustrated, frustrated by the syrian problem
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in general. but i have to say, we do provide support to hem them against the rejim. we provide a lot of support. >> i think our help to the opposition has been an embarrassment. i find a appall that doing the things we want we would so three months ago, six months ago, nine months ago. >> blistering criticism. as long as the opposition is weak, the assad regime is emboldened, he said he's thinking about running for reelection next year. >> jim scuitto, thanks very very much. just ahead, the vatican's responsibility to the report it's been a target of u.s. surveillance. i'll ask a key u.s. ally if he trusts obama after all the spying allegations. ays come to my rescue.
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we have an update on the
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breaking news into "the situation room." we have reports of a school bus that's gone off a bridge near douglas, kansas. we're told the bus driver and some children are being pulled from the water. we have no word yesterday on how many people were on board. there are no reports of fatalities. we'll update you with more information as we get it. is the inside of your body. see, the special psyllium fiber in metamucil actually gels to trap some carbs to help maintain healthy blood sugar levels. metamucil. 3 amazing benefits in 1 super fiber.
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the obama administration is beginning angry pushback over reports of u.s. spying on key allies. now even the vatican is getting dragged into this. brian todd is taking a closer look into what's going on. >> reporter: it's a place where secrecy is almost celebrated, where changes in leadership are signaled in smoke. could even the vatican be vulnerable? a report in italy's "panorama" says the nsa intercepted calls into and out of the residence where cardinals stayed for the
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recent conclave where pope francis was chosen. the nsa says in a statement it does not target the vatican, but on the heels of accusations made by edward snowden that the u.s. listened into angela merkel's cell phone calls and may have had access to dozens of our data, some say it doesn't matter whether the story is true or not. u.s. intelligence officials all but add they do spy on american allies. some of it reminds me of "casablanca." >> one way the in the meantime sa can reestablished trust. >> if they came forward and was more open, more transparent about what it does and why it does these things, including spies on our friends and allies, i think people may say, well, that makes sense. >> reporter: the vatican responded to the panorama report saying we're not concerned. others say if anyone is listening in on the vatican, there could be good reason.
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analysts say the papacy is plugged in, in places lie syria, where western intelligence agencies sometimes don't have eyes and ears. >> they are priests, nuns, other kate lick players who have boots on the ground who are often passing information back up the food chain about what is really happening. it would not surprise me at all if the american government were more interested in gleaning some of that insight. >> reporter: the analysts we spoke to today say part of the nsa problem is just one of image that's been so secretive for so long, no one knows quite what to believe especially in light of new reports that the nsa was spying on the german chancellor as cell phone. wolf? >> brian todd, thanks very much. and engining us now from berlin, germany, the foreign minister of germany, guido vestrevella. thank you for coming in. >> thank you for inviting me. >> let's take specifically about the alleges that the united states was eavesdropping on the
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phone conversations of the german chancellor angela merkel. she said we need trust, spying among friends is never acceptable, true change is necessary. what would you like the united states, president obama, to do about this current controversy right now? >> i think it would be the right gesture in washington would send a delegation to berlin and to the other capitals here in europe, because we cannot ignore that this was a breach of trust, and we have noises to consider how we can restore this confident and this trust between our countries, and of course our governments. >> do you know how long the united states was monitoring her cell phone, angela merkel's cell phone, how long that surveillance was going on? >> i do not want to speculate about these facts. i can only tell you that this is a very delicate and sensitive issue for my country. we went through a very difficult
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history, especially when we think about the gdr and what we called the stazi, so these surveillance activities in germany is really a breach of trust, and is really something which is discussed in our public opinions in a very serious and intensive way, not only in the -- in the parliament and among the political leaders. so we are not naive. we know that all have to fight against terrorism, but you cannot fight against terrorism by tapping the chancellor's cell phone. >> you have no doubt that they were tapping the cell phone. on that subject you're 100% sure? >> what we heard is enough. we think it is now to consider how we can restore confidence,
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because we think this eavesdropping of other governments, or of millions of people is not acceptable among friends. we belong to the same community of -- we belong to the western communities. this western community is founded on common values, and therefore it is decisive. >> foreign minister, i've spoken to u.s. intelligence officials. they make the point that if the u.s. were doing all of this, and they acknowledge that the u.s. was doing it, it was being done to fight terrorism and to help your country, the people of germany, as well as the people of the united states. do you buy that? >> we are grateful for the cooperation between our governments, especially between our intelligence agencies, but these -- we don't think it is fighting terrorism by spying on our government, or by tapping
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the chancellor's cell phone. so we are not naive, but when i say we are not naive, it goes both directions. on the one hand, we are not naive, because we know it's necessary for fight against terrorism, but we are not naive also that, you know, by tapping the chancellor's cell phone, you will not fight terrorist activities. i mean, that's -- for sure. >> your interior minister has raised the possibility that you might expel certain u.s. diplomats as a result of what has been going on. is that in fact something you are considering right now? >> no, we are not discussing these kinds of measures, and we think that our friendship is deep, and we think it's not only a partnership, we think it's a real friendship. >> has germany conducted espionage activities on the united states?
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>> i cannot repeat what the head of our intelligence agency said in a very frank and clear way. he said that the united states of america, the government and the united states of america, are not a subject of any intelligence activities of my country. >> bottom line, minister, do you trust president obama? >> we had an excellent discussion about civil rights and about privacy and freedom on the occasion of his very successful visit here in berlin. so i think it's now time to restore and to rebuild this confidence between our countries, and this is now our goal, and alsof it is also our duty, what we have an political leaders on both sides of the atlantic. this is necessary, and this is urgent, and i think we shouldn't
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underestimate how serious this discussion is in europe t. >> sounds to me like that answer suggests you do not, at least right now, fully trust president obama. >> i trust president obama, but please, i cannot tell you what europe intelligence agencies are doing, and i do not know what kind of reports they are given to the president and to his team. >> one final question. there's this report in italy that the u.s. was also eavesdropping, they had surveillance on the vatican. do you believe that? >> i don't know it. i cannot exclude it, and, um, probably everything is possible. >> german foreign minister speaking with me about a very, very sensitive subject. he was pretty blunt, i must say.
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thanks very much for watching. remember, you can always follow what's going on here in "the situation room" on twitter. do me a favor, tweet m me @wolfblitzer. thanks for watching. "crossfire" with guests bill richardson and bob you recallic, starts right now. tonight on "crossfire", washington's mixed bag for halloween. scary poll numbers, and a website haunted by glitches and security questions. on the left, van jones. on the right, newt gingrich. in the "crossfire." bill richardson, democrat ecformer governor of new mexico, and bob you recallic, the former rep gove you recall lick. 7 happy hallowee